Tag Archives: Horror Movies

Vic’s Review – Texas Chainsaw (2013)

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A young woman travels to Texas to collect an inheritance; little does she know that an encounter with a chainsaw-wielding killer is part of the reward.

“Texas Chainsaw”

Directed by John Luessenhop

4 out of 10

Egads. Even though horror fans have seen iconic movie villains like Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees and even ole Mikey Myers rebooted, remade and re-imagined we seem to have forgotten Leatherface somewhat. Well in true predictable form we are treated to a grittier, violent and deranged Leatherface but a Leatherface that is actually a type of vigilante or “anti-hero” that is going after some people who either get in his way or have it coming. What Director John Luessenhop (Takers) gets right out of the gate is deftly re-create the climax of Tobe Hooper’s seminal movie. Using some new footage smartly intermixed with Hooper’s. Here he sets things up for us and with precision and gravity Luessenhop manages to invent some mood with dark carnage and twists. Unfortunately, that is all that he gets right. Everything else after the interesting set up is so predictable, fabricated, boring and incredibly dull. I have never been a huge Leatherface fan having only watched some entries of the franchise here and there. Luessenhop doesn’t accomplish much in the way of sparking some real interest all around here. It’s all violent style over much needed substance.

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Some will argue that it is indeed a decent entry because it does deliver some of the more horrific elements of a crazed slasher film but I have to disagree. It delivers all right but it’s not chills and thrills. Actress Alexandria Daddario (Hall Pass) plays Heather Miller who has been notified that her wealthy Grandmother  has left her a huge house and property. After she discovers that she is adopted, Heather reluctantly decides to  travel to collect her inheritance. She gets her  friends Ryan, Nikki and Kenny together for the road trip and they head out. Along the way they pick up a hitchhiker named Darryl. They make it to the house and after doing a walk through of it Heather decides to go and get some supplies from town and they leave Darryl behind to loot the place. Dumb thing number 1. Never leave a total stranger to watch your brand new house which is full of expensive silver objects. And the dumb things continue. One right after a another. We are introduced to Leatherface (Dan Yeager) who survived the attack upon the Sawyer Home 20 years before. He is indeed creepy and very menacing but only in a cartoony sort of way. I just couldn’t take him seriously. So, Heather and her friends learn the hard way that Leatherface comes with the house like some sort of rapid pet. Yikes.

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The devil is  in the details here in this movie and some things do not gel. The film shows a lynch mob that destroys the Sawyer home with fire but 20 years later it’s perfectly re-built. Characters do not age and bodies are found with no explanation. It’s these little things that wreck the film. Well, this and the fact that everything else sucks. There is no suspense. The chases are boring and uninspired. Kenny and Darryl both run afoul of Leatherface in grisly ways that involves large metal hooks and Kenny gets sliced right in half in a deliciously gory and funny moment. Leatherface goes after Heather and the rest and in the escape he causes the getaway van to crash. Heather gets away from the wreck but her boyfriend Ryan (Rapper Trey Songz) doesn’t fare too well. Tania Raymonde (Lost) plays Nikki, who even though very sexy here,  can’t seem to escape cliche territory when facing the killer. The one high point of the film is when Leatherface runs amok at a carnival that Heather escapes to. But it is too little too late. Texas Chainsaw delivers a dull continuation of the iconic and mythical  film. It is riddled with cliche after cliche and it is incredibly boring. Luessenhop fails in his plot and execution. In the last act the movie totally falls apart. In a last ditch effort to impress, Luessenhop reveals something about both Heather and Leatherface that is a bit laughable and trite. I’d stay clear of this mess gang. But if you do have to see it then don’t expect anything other than a bad movie that isn’t bad enough to be good.

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The Last Man on Earth

A plague has wiped out most of mankind, and those who survived have become bloodthirsty vampires. The only “normal” human left on earth, Dr. Robert Morgan (Vincent Price) — who was spared by a twist of fate — spends his days methodically hunting down the undead mutants and his nights barricaded against their attacks. But when he meets the beautiful but contaminated Ruth, he discovers a secret that will unravel what’s left of his existence.

Victor
Rating: 8 out of 10

The 1954 novel “I Am Legend” by Richard Matheson has always been one of my favorite sci-fi/horror novels. This 1964 film directed by Sidney Salkow and shot on a meager budget in Italy is the first adaptation of Matheson’s zombie tale. Many consider it to still be the finest of the 3 that have been done thus far. The film carries on, faithfully, the idea of an apocalypse started by disease. Vincent Price portrays Robert Morgan, the only survivor who seems immune to the plague which has obliterated mankind. During the day he goes about routine and mundane things. He fixes his home, looks for vehicles and hunts and kills vampiric zombies created by the contagion. He then takes them to burn in a crater like hole where he dumps them in. He endures attacks at night by the same horde of monsters, one being a close friend of his.

It is the versatile Vincent Price that really carries this film far and beyond the already great material. He is a lonely man and Price deftly emotes such realism in his performance. He is grieving, sorrowful, angry and at times desperate. His survival instincts, though, are always finely tuned to the dangers that lie beyond the threshold of his sanctuary. His story is told in flashbacks and it is here where we learn the origin of the contagion and we begin to feel for him and his plight. At night he endures the ghouls who want him to succumb. That is his plight.

The film is dense, dark and scary. It is eerily lit with emotion and fright highlighting the menace of the cinematography. Price is joined by a capable cast and the Italian actresses are beauties. But it is the desolation, dread and futility that stirs us. The score is disquieting and effective for this type of film. It is a hidden gem of the genre.

Insidious

After moving into a new home, Josh (Patrick Wilson) and his wife Renai (Rose Byrne) confront terrifying tribulations when their son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) falls into a coma and his body starts to attract malevolent forces from a mysterious netherworld. But when the family decides to move again, hoping to leave the evil spirits behind, they realize that their problems are just beginning. James Wan (Saw) directs.

Matt
Rating: 5 out of 10

The first hour of this movie was outstanding. One of the best horror films to come out in years. It had me jumping and nervous, and was a great date night movie that was intriguing, smart, well-paced with great performances and sharp direction.

The last act of the movie, however, took a huge nosedive. We are given the impression that a demon is after a little boy’s soul. We get narrow glimpses of him throughout the movie but never see him. It’s the Alfred Hitchcock theory that what the audience doesn’t see is what scares them the most. And it’s true.

In the last act, however, we get so much over-the-top demon, it just gets downright silly. It really stopped my viewing pleasure and made the whole thing seem silly. The ending is strong, and has a nice twist, but I was disinterested by the time it got there. It’s a shame, because this movie was so close to being amazing. Hard to say it’s anything better than average, though.

Devil

In this edgy thriller, Det. Bowden (Chris Messina) must not only save five people trapped in an elevator — a mechanic (Logan Marshall-Green), a young woman (Bojana Novakovic), an old woman (Jenny O’Hara), a guard (Bokeem Woodbine) and a salesman (Geoffrey Arend) — but he must act fast because the devil is among them. Drew Dowdle and John Erick Dowdle direct M. Night Shyamalan’s story, which explores the notion that there are no coincidences.

Matt
Rating: 6 out of 10

M. Night Shyamalan has been beaten up like a demolition derby car the past few years. In part, it’s justified, but this is a script I think he did well with.

I’m a big fan of his early work, like “The Sixth Sense,” “Unbreakable,” and “Signs.” And this film is a little closer to that work, without trying to force a bit twist in the end, like he did with “The Happening.” This is a straight-forward horror, science-fiction film that revolves around an interesting group of people stuck in an elevator. While it’s a simple story, and nothing really unexpected happens, it’s a solid little suspense film.

This is by no means a representation of his best writing, because it’s got a lot of cliché, corny dialogue and very unrealistic reactions to situations by the characters, but my wife enjoyed it. It’s an above average thriller.

John Carpenter’s: The Ward

Master of horror John Carpenter returns to form — and to the director’s chair — for this chilling thriller in which a young woman, Kristen (Amber Heard), is sent to a mental institution with a past as dark and haunted as her own. Terrorized by a ghost, each of the other patients in Kristen’s ward begin to disappear, and that’s just the beginning of her long nightmare. Jared Harris (“Mad Men”) and Danielle Panabaker (Friday the 13th) also star.

Brian
Rating: 8 out of 10

The master is back! It has been far too long since we’ve seen a new John Carpenter film. The last time we saw a feature length film by the esteemed director was 2001’s disappointing “Ghosts of Mars.” Well, I’m here to say not only is he back but this is the finest film he has made since 1994’s “In the Mouth of Madness.”

All of the John Carpenter trademarks are here: the gloomy and atmospheric cinematography, the suspense, the great buildups and chases, and the twisted ending. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I am a card carrying John Carpenter fan. His resume speaks for itself: “Halloween,” “Escape from New York”,” The Fog,” “The Thing,” and the list goes on. However, there were many that thought his time had passed. He had gone through a very productive 1990’s only to walk away from filmmaking into a semi-retirement. I really hope he doesn’t stay away this long again because “The Ward” shows vitality far younger than his age and hearkens back to a time where films unfolded slowly over time to build to a true climax. A lot of the credit for the film goes the terrific performances all around, but particularly Amber Heard who plays a convincing and strong lead. Her strength as the character of Kristen really roots the film and drew me into the story. The script is also very good by brothers Michael and Shawn Rasmussen. But, in the end, it’s John Carpenter’s direction that brings it all together. The scares will make you jump out of your seat and the action will have you on the edge of it. The last 30 minutes are absolutely gripping. If there’s a weakness, it takes a bit of patience to get to the good stuff. The first 45 minutes will have you confused but just sit tight; all will be explained eventually. It really feels good to see John Carpenter back to his low budget horror roots where he belongs. Hopefully, he’s back for good.

Check out our Top 5 John Carpenter movies of all time.